Sunday, November 10, 2019

Common backyard birds in Wyoming (lists, photos, ID)

The most common backyard birds throughout the year in the state of Wyoming are these:
  1. American Robin (37% frequency)
  2. Northern Flicker (22%)
  3. House Sparrow (20%)
  4. Eurasian Collared-Dove (20%)
These birds occur on more than 20% of eBird checklists for the state.

In this article
Lists of the most common backyard birds in Wyoming
Photos and ID of the most common backyard birds in Wyoming
Other birds you might see from your backyard in Wyoming
Comparison of the most common backyard birds in Cheyenne, Wyoming

This page lists the most common backyard birds as determined by actual bird sightings reported to the citizen science birding program, eBird. These birds are ranked according to frequency--the percentage of all bird checklists on which a species occurs. Below I list common backyard birds in winter and summer.

Photos and identification are next. I tell a little bit about each species and how you might attract them to your yard.

Farther below I've also added a list of other common birds not typically found in backyards.

I conclude with a list comparing the birds of Cheyenne with the birds of the state as a whole.

List of the most common feeder birds and backyard birds in Wyoming

The top list on this page is the frequency of birds throughout the year. Many birds are migratory or otherwise vary in abundance between seasons. So the next two lists are the common birds ranked in winter and then in summer.

The most common backyard birds in Wyoming in winter (December to February) are these:
Eurasian Collared-Dove (33% frequency)
House Sparrow (30%)
House Finch (28%)
Black-capped Chickadee (22%)
Eurasian Starling (21%)
American Crow (21%)
Northern Flicker (20%)

The most common backyard birds in Wyoming in summer (June to July) are these:
American Robin (48% frequency)
Northern Flicker (22%)

How do birds differ between winter and summer?

Eurasian Collared-Doves, House Sparrows are more common in winter.

American Robins are more common in summer.

Photos and ID of the most common backyard birds in Wyoming

Photo of American Robin
American Robin
Photo by Greg Gillson
1. American Robin (37%)
Turdus migratorius
This familiar bird is a resident in the northern half of the United States and a winter visitor in the southern half.
Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. Size: 10 inches long from bill tip to tail tip. About the same size as a Blue Jay or one of the Scrub-Jays. Larger than Red-winged Blackbird. Smaller than a Mourning Dove. Shape: Very plump with a fairly long tail. Bill: Straight and fairly slender, curved at the tip. Color: Gray-brown upperparts, rusty orange breast. Habitat, range & behavior: Open woodlands, farmlands, urban parks and lawns. Migratory, breeds north across Alaska and Canada. Resident in most of the United States (lower 48). Winters in the United States, Mexico, to central America. Hops on your lawn turning head this way and that looking for food. Their caroling song is one of the early signs of spring in the north. Food and feeder preference: Worms and other invertebrates in the lawn. May eat fruit from a tray feeder or the ground. Eat small berries from trees and bushes.

Photo of Northern Flicker on a branch
Northern Flicker
Photo by Greg Gillson
2. Northern Flicker (22%)
Colaptes auratus
Of all the bird identification questions I get asked, this common larger backyard bird is the bird most people ask about. It doesn't occur to those unfamiliar with it that this could be a woodpecker. Identification: Size: About the size of a Mourning Dove. Larger than a robin. Shape: Stocky with short legs, short tail, big head. Bill: As long as head, thin, slightly curved. Color: Back is brown with black bars. Under parts pinkish with black spots. Undersides of black wing and tail feathers are bright salmon red (West) or yellow (East). Head gray (West) or brown (East) and males with red (West) or black (East) whisker marks and nape marks (East). Black crescent across chest. White rump seen in flight. Habitat, range & behavior: Found in woodland edges and forests. Year-round resident from extreme southern Canada, across all of the lower-48 states and in the mountains of Mexico and Middle America. In summer breeds northward well into Canada and Alaska. Frequently noted hopping on ground pecking in the ground for insects. In late spring, males proclaim their territory by rapid pounding on a hollow tree branch, though the ringing of metal downspouts at dawn is louder and carries much farther, to the exasperation of anyone trying to sleep inside! Food and feeder preference: Ants and beetles are their primary foods. Will eat black oil sunflower seeds and are attracted to suet.

Photo of House Sparrow on feeder with sunflower seed
House Sparrow
Photo by Greg Gillson
3. House Sparrow (20%)
Passer domesticus
Like the starling, this is another bird introduced from Europe in the 1800's. This sparrow is commonly found in cities and farmlands. It is considered a pest in most areas where it has been introduced.
Identification: Size: The size of a House Finch or Dark-eyed Junco. Shape: Chunkier than native North American sparrows with large head, barrel chest, short neck, medium tail, short legs. Bill: Short, conical. Color: Males are brown and gray with a black mask. Females lack the black and are tan and brown with a pale line back from the eye. Habitat, range & behavior: Cities and farms. Range in North American from southern Canada through Central America. In summer northward through Canada to southern Alaska. Originated in Middle East and spread to most of Europe and Asia. Introduced in South America, Africa, Australia--nearly anywhere there are people and cities. They tend to be messy... and have a good appetite, and may occur in large noisy chirping flocks. They are aggressive toward other feeder birds. Food and feeder preference: They eat grain, seed, and insects. To discourage them from your hopper and tray feeders do not feed birds human food scraps. They have a bit of difficulty eating from tube feeders.

Photo of Eurasian Collared-Dove on a metal pole
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Photo by Greg Gillson
4. Eurasian Collared-Dove (20%)
Streptopelia decaocto
Eurasian Collared-Doves are a rather new addition to the North American avifauna. The spread from introductions in the Bahamas to Florida in the 1980's and continue to spread across the continent in a general northwestern direction. They build up a large local population over a couple of years then fly hundreds of miles to set up new outposts, gradually backfilling.
Identification: Size: Larger than Mourning Doves. Shape: Stocky dove with a full square tail. Bill: Small and rather slender. Color: Cream colored with darker primaries. The underside of the base of the tail is blackish with a wide whitish tip. It has a black collar on the hind-neck. Habitat, range & behavior: Found in residential neighborhoods and farmlands. Native to Eurasia. In North America has expanded explosively in past 3 decades. Florida to northern Mexico and north to southern Canada. Not yet common in the Northeastern United States. Found on city power lines, poles, adjacent conifers. Social. Noisy, making "coo-coo cook" song and grating rasping call "ghaaaaa." Food and feeder preference: They eat primarily seeds and grains. Since the are so large they prefer to eat on large platform feeders or on the ground under feeders.

Other common birds you might see from your backyard in Wyoming

The following lists contain additional common birds you might see flying over your yard or in a nearby neighborhood. There are also several less common backyard birds in these lists that don't appear in the lists above.

Watch for these additional common Wyoming birds in winter (December to February):
Common Raven (25% frequency)
Black-billed Magpie (25%)
Mallard (20%)

Watch for these additional common Wyoming birds in summer (June to July):
Common Raven (26% frequency)
Red-winged Blackbird (23%)
Yellow Warbler (22%)

Watch for these additional common Wyoming birds in spring (April to May):
Canada Goose (43% frequency)
Red-winged Blackbird (41%)
Mallard (40%)
Western Meadowlark (30%)
Common Raven (23%)
Mourning Dove (22%)
Common Grackle (22%)
Killdeer (20%)

Comparison of the most common backyard birds in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Photo of House Finch on tree top
House Finch is a common backyard bird in Cheyenne
Photo by Greg Gillson
The following list uses eBird data to compare the birds of Cheyenne with the birds of the state as a whole. Cheyenne is in Laramie County. I will use the data for Laramie County to represent the birds in the Cheyenne area.

Here are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Cheyenne:
Eurasian Collared-Dove (42% frequency)
House Finch (38%)
American Robin (37%)
House Sparrow (36%)
American Crow (28%)
Mourning Dove (24%)
Northern Flicker (22%)
European Starling (22%)
Common Grackle (20%)

Eurasian Collared-Doves, House Finches, House Sparrows are more common in Cheyenne than in the state as a whole.

Next: Backyard birds of Alabama

You may be interested: Bird books for each individual state in the US

Related: 34 of the most common birds in the United States (with photos)

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